An ex-Instagram staffer is teaching brands and creators how to grow an audience on the app. Here are 4 of her top strategies.

by Anna Munhin Mar 24, 2023 News
An ex-Instagram staffer is teaching brands and creators how to grow an audience on the app. Here are 4 of her top strategies.

Employees of the photo sharing website do more than build the app. The platform's tools and new features are taught by some.

It was done by a former product marketing and partnership manager at the photo sharing website.

Candelaria told Insider that his job was to help creators and partners understand their products and features.

After starting at Facebook, Candelaria moved over to the photo sharing website. Her eight-year tenure at Meta ended in November of 2022, when the company laid off about 11,000 staffers.

Candelaria is starting a business to help brands and creators use the app to grow their businesses and audience. She also launched a 29-part course through the online-course platform Kajabi.

She said that she created her course to let people access her strategies at a lower price point.

In the course, she teaches how to make a good reel, how to build a community, and how to use social media to her advantage.

"I don't tell people in the course to press this button and they'll get 9000 followers tomorrow, which I think people are hoping to get," he said.

Agenda slide from Jackie Candelaria's course on growing na audience on instagram
Candelaria's online course includes 29 virtual lessons.
Courtesy Jackie Candelaria

Candelaria talked about how to grow an audience and community on the photo sharing site.

1. Instagram and TikTok are very different, so approach them differently

A lot of people are taking strategies from TikTok and trying to duplicate them on other platforms without realizing that they are not replicating the same things.

"You chose to engage with people and that you chose to follow them, that's how it was built on the photo sharing site," she said. You understand that you are going to see content from things that you have already decided to enjoy.

TikTok is different for a lot of users.

You are conditioned to think that you will see content from a bunch of people that you don't know when you go into TikTok.

Going viral on social media isn't the same as doing it on a platform like TikTok. She said she's often asked why an account doesn't have a lot of followers.

She said that most of the time their video wasn't aligned with the other content on their account.

Screengrab of Jackei Candelaria's TikTok feed
Using TikTok, Candelaria promotes her online course and shares more advice about Instagram.
Screengrab/TikTok/Jackie Candelaria; Insider

She said that if you want your account to be successful, you can't just rely on one viral video to take off. When people sign up to follow you, they're looking at your stories, your feed, your reels, and your life. It's a lot of work.

If a creator on TikTok is going on a date, then you should follow them on social media.

2. Sorry to break it to you, but there's no universal formula for success

There isn't a silver bullet when it comes to posting a certain number of posts.

Candelaria doesn't tell people they have to post five times a day. I don't believe that is sustainable. I don't believe that will work.

Candelaria tells her clients to start with a posting cadence that they feel comfortable with and then look at the data and insights provided by the social media platform.

She said that you can double down by knowing how your community is reacting to the content. Every person's audience behaves in a different way.

3. Good reels tell stories

The reel has to tell a story.

A good beginning that hooks people, a middle and an end is what you want. You don't have to say a word on the screen, you can tell a story.

Don't take that too seriously and just re-post your stories as reels, which the app encourages.

"I think a lot of people were viewing reels as a way to dump their IG stories into a 15-second clip," he said.

Reels slideshow from Jackie Candelaria's course on growing on Instagram
Candelaria worked on the Reels product while employed at Instagram.
Courtesy Jackie Candelaria

What type of short-form video content is the best for the platform is still being worked out by creators and the platform. Adam Mosseri said that the platform pushed too many videos. It's not a good idea to push video content that people want to see.

Mosseri said that the social network will focus on striking a better balance between photos and reels as it continues to build out its content ranking and recommendations.

"I don't think they're grouping reels or video in a way that's bad for them," he said. Allowing the system to recorrect itself and show good content is what it is.

4. Turning an audience into a community requires time and effort

If you want to build a strong community, you have to respond to your audience. A lot of that is talking.

Stories and messages are where most of the conversations can be found.

There are interactive stickers such as polls, question boxes, and creative prompts that can be included in stories.

It's important for creators to know that messaging is a priority for the Meta suite of apps.

She said that it's a good indicator that you want to see their content. You're probably going to show up higher in their ranking systems, show up more in their feed, and so on.

It is a two-way street. You have to respond back to people if you want to establish a bond.